Attempts at understanding life
(This time, I will not start with “so” :P) About four months ago, my English teacher basically gave us 1 class period and told us to write a narrative. Since this was near the beginning of the school year, my brain was still fried with inactivity from break, so I sat there looking at my blank sheet for most of the period (luckily, this wasn’t to be graded). Then, while my mind was wandering, thinking about what XC practice was going to be like that day, I realized that running would be a perfect topic. I never actually got around to writing the narrative though, since the bell rang about twenty seconds after I had selected my topic. I did end up using a XC meet for an On-Demand Narrative, but that was only one instance, a small window, into my running life. Here, I hope that I can truly write about a physical pastime of mine, Running.
Running. The fluid motions of my legs, the vigorous pumping of my arms, and the controlled breathing as I push myself forward. With no specific destination in mind, I let it all go. The wind on my face blows away all the stress and pressures of my life, leaving only the sharp pain of my burning lungs and the sound of my heavy breathing as reminders that I’m still connected to this world.
Running. What first evolved as a survival instinct for the first humans now a hobby, a leisure activity, for me. I wonder how many others in the world have advanced this action from its humble origins as a hurried escape tactic in our ancestors to the modern, graceful step of a runner.
I wish I could control my running schedule, choosing when I want to run, and when I don’t want to run. Unfortunately for me, the world does not revolve around only one person, and the constant, looming, pressures of college obligates me to take on a sport. I chose Cross Country.
Running is the simplest, yet most elegant, of any athletic activity. While Track and Field also have several running events, the distances are all too short, too intense, to be of any real fun. Everything is already decided for the competitor: which heat, which lane, what competition, even how fast one runs is almost completely determined before the runner is at the starting line. In Cross Country, even during a meet, I can choose my tempo to run at, choose my competition, choose my race. Those that I want to run past, I blow right by. Those that I want to pass me, I let them go. Those that I feel are at a good running pace for me, I keep until the end of the race to fight. I control my playing field.
While I am by no means a “good” runner, especially compared to many others on my team, the truth is, I don’t care. The medals, the ribbons, the glory-none of that matters to me. I run not to be the best, but to be the best I can be. If that means being the dead weight of the team, so be it. If that means leading a race, I’ll do that too. In the end, it’s not how far I’ve run, it’s how well I ran as far as I did.
I haven’t been running by my own choice for very long, only starting around a year ago to get out of having to do track & field, but in the short time that I’ve been running, my life has been wonderful. Stress is virtually non-existent when I run, and even when it does appear, it is much more mild than when I didn’t run. I still have ups and downs in my life, but running mollifies the bad things that happen to me and enhances the good things in life. On the other hand, running can be like a drug: after I stop running for a few days, I feel extremely stressed out and withdrawn.
Sadly, as it is now winter, I can’t really run outside (unless I want to risk tripping and injuring myself). I also strongly dislike running indoors, whether it be on exercise equipment or on indoor floors, as it takes much of the joy out of running. Until Spring, when the snow melts and the ice disappears, I can only appease my hungry mind and body with thoughts, mere hints of the actual action, of the wonders and the delight of running.
Ok this post turned out to be a little more poetic and cliché than I originally planned it to be. Eh, that’s ok.
Thanks for reading,